VSOP. (Very Special Old Preserve)

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[Theater: Future Classics Reading Series]

VSOP. (Very Special Old Preserve) By Laurence Holder

Starring and Co-directed by:  Mansoor Najee-ullah and Rony Clanton

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 7pm. The Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street,  2 or 3 train to 135th St.



Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell… giants of bebop… the two jazz pianist… in the midst of the oddities and peculiarities of their relationship… VSOP takes an odyssey to the nightclub where they will play.

Laurence Holder is the author of many jazz plays and VSOP is the prequel to MonknBud, a three-character play featuring Monk, Nellie Monk and Bud, and the one-character Monk, which explores Monk’s inner thoughts about what he was doing in the music.

Other jazz plays include Hot Fingers (about Jelly Roll Morton), Scott Joplin, Bird (about Charlie Parker), Ethel Waters, The Miles Davis Quintet, The Gospel According To Max Roach, Hot Snow (about Valiada Snow) and Swee'Pea and The Duke (about Lena Horne, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn).

Mr. Holder has won writing awards for Political Theatre, AUDELCO Awards for M: the Mandela Saga (about Winnie and Nelson Mandela) and for When The Chickens Came Home To Roost (about Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X). He runs Writing Workshops for the New Federal Theatre and The Negro Ensemble Company.

Mansoor Najee-ullah is thankful to God and humbled by the opportunity to perform and co-direct a play by such a stellar playwright as Mr. Laurence Holder. Mansoor holds a BA in Theatre and Communication from Queens College/CUNY, an MA in Theatre Education from New York University and a Certificate of Advance Graduate Study in Educational Administration and Supervision from the Leadership Academy at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He is now the Director of Academic Foundations at Hudson County Community College. He has taught in the Theatre and Speech Departments at the University of South Carolina, Pace College, Bronx Community College/CUNY, Medgar Evers College/CUNY and the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY. He has directed theatre at New York University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Brown University and many Off-Off-Broadway theatres and community theatres in New York City.

Within the New York City Department Education, he taught Drama and Social Studies for thirteen years at William J. O’Shea Middle School. In the area of arts administration he was the District Arts Coordinator for District 9 Bronx and the Regional Arts Supervisor for Region 10 in Manhattan. He performed on Broadway in The Might Gents, G.R. Point, Mule Bone and Sweet Bird of Youth starring Lauren Ball. He performed Off-Broadway at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre in The Forbidden City, at Manhattan Theatre Club in The Sirens and In The Wine Time, and at the Ensemble Stage Theatre where he created the role of Marvin X in Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam directed by Woodie King Jr. On television he has appeared in Oz, Guilding Light, As The World Turns and All My Children.

Rony Clanton marked his Off-Off-Broadway directorial debut with Amiri Braka’s The Toilet. He originated the role of Foots in the original Off-Broadway production. Hampton is a product of The Henry Street Settlement, Harlem Youth Opportunity Unlimited (HARYOU Act) and Robert Hooks Group Theatre Workshop. His films appearances include The Cool World, The Education Of Sonny Carson, The Killing Zone, Def By Temptation, Rappin, Juice, Devil’s Advocate, and The Third Miracle. Mr. Clanton is a recipient of the TOR Award and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.


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